Thailand’s main opposition parties easily bested other contenders with virtually all the votes counted from the May 14 general election, fulfilling many voters’ hopes that the balloting would serve as a pivotal chance for change nine years after incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha first came to power in a 2014 coup.
The liberal Move Forward party and the populist Pheu Thai Party were far out in front with 99% of votes counted, but it was far from certain either will form the next government, with parliamentary rules written by the military after the coup skewed in its favor.
To rule, the opposition parties will need to strike deals and muster support from multiple camps, including members of a junta-appointed Senate that has sided with military parties and gets to vote on who becomes prime minister and form the next administration.
Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat, a 42-year-old businessman, described the outcome as “sensational” and vowed to stay true to his party’s values when forming a government.
Pita said he remained open to an alliance with Pheu Thai, but has set his sights on being prime minister.
“It is now clear the Move Forward Party has received the overwhelming support from the people around the country,” he said on Twitter. (AP, Reuters)